The acquittal. Scientists blame clouds for climate change

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Acquittal. Scientists remove responsibility for climate change from clouds

The researchers concluded that clouds are less sensitive to climate than previously thought, and therefore require a revision of climate forecasts.

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For decades, scientists have been talking about impending global warming and subsequent abrupt climate change. However, a new study turns everything upside down – scientists have concluded that clouds are less sensitive to climate and are inclined to believe that previous climate scenarios of the future need to be revised, writes Sci Tech Daily.

In 2020, a team of researchers from an international team from the Center for Research and Sustainability of the Earth System (CEN) of the University of Hamburg, the Dynamic Meteorological Laboratory in Paris and the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg carried out the largest field study. During it, they analyzed observational data collected in key cloud fields near the Atlantic island of Barbados.

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According to atmospheric scientist Rafaela Vogel, she and her colleagues found that the contribution of these clouds to climate change is highly overestimated, and therefore global climate projections need to be revised. Scientists have found that trade wind cumulus clouds affect the Earth's climate system, but exhibit different behavior than previously thought.

The researchers believe that these new data suggest that a sharp increase in the planet's temperature is less likely than scientists previously thought. Vogel and colleagues note that the new data is really important for predicting climate change, but does not mean at all that humanity can abandon the climate protection program.

Note that many existing climate models take into account a significant reduction in trade-wind clouds, which in reality would mean that their cooling capacity would be lost to a greater extent, and consequently the Earth's atmosphere would heat up even faster. However, new data from scientists prove that this is unlikely to happen.

It is known that as a result of global warming, more water evaporates from the surface of the ocean – as a result, the humidity at the base of the trade wind clouds increases, and the upper part of the air mass of clouds is drier and only slightly moistened. According to the previous hypothesis, drier air moves down, resulting in cloud droplets evaporating more quickly, and therefore increasing the likelihood that clouds will dissipate. so. Scientists suggest that these data are the first to shed light on the process needed to understand climate change – how vertical mixing affects humidity and cloud cover in general.

In simple words, scientists have found that more intense mixing does not make the lower layers of the cloud drier at all and the clouds do not dissipate. The data suggest that cloud cover, on the contrary, is increasing, and vertical mixing is increasing with it.

This is good news, according to Vogel, because it indicates that, in fact, trade wind clouds are much less sensitive to global warming than researchers previously thought. Scientists note that in the future it is necessary to revise the existing climate models taking into account these new data, which will now allow modeling the dynamics of clouds with record scales – up to one kilometer.

Note that during the study, scientists used two aircraft. One of them dropped hundreds of atmospheric probes from a height of 9 km, which, as they fell, collected the necessary data on wind, temperature, humidity and pressure. Another aircraft was used to study the clouds at their base at an altitude of 800 m, at the same time the ship carried out ground measurements. The result is an extensive database of unprecedented magnitude.